Goddess Permaculture 39…Exposed!

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Thirty nine photographs of the Goddess at her best, as we rise towards Midsummer…a mere twenty four days away!IMG_1558

An abundance of fruit, flowers and vegetables, captured this morning on film, images from a small part of the three acres of Bealtaine Cottage, in the west of Ireland…all growing on this “poor” agricultural land.IMG_1559

I won’t take up too much of your time with words, for I would rather you simply enjoy the images, as I have done whilst drinking my morning coffee and walking the land.IMG_1560

Many thanks to Majella and Derek who brought me the beautiful little Oak saplings yesterday…that’s the pic at the top of this post!IMG_1561

I wish you all a Happy Sunday with blessings for the week ahead, from all here at Bealtaine Cottage…May you embrace the joy from Mother Earth XXX Colette XXXIMG_1562IMG_1563IMG_1564IMG_1565IMG_1566IMG_1567IMG_1568IMG_1569IMG_1570IMG_1571IMG_1574IMG_1575IMG_1577IMG_1578IMG_1579IMG_1580IMG_1581IMG_1582IMG_1583IMG_1584IMG_1589IMG_1590IMG_1591IMG_1593IMG_1594IMG_1596IMG_1597IMG_1598IMG_1599IMG_1599IMG_1572IMG_1573IMG_1588IMG_1585IMG_1595IMG_1600

The book “A Cottage and Three Acres,” is now available to purchase…with 71 colour photographs!

 

The cost of the book is 21.00 euros, plus 5.50 P&P for addresses in Ireland, 6.50 P&P the rest of the world.

Thus books posted to Ireland, total cost 26.50 euros

All other countries worldwide, total cost 27.50 euros

Once through to Paypal, currency conversion is worked out for you. I will acknowledge your order ASAP.

To order and pay, use this button…

 
 
 You can also pay by cheque, made out to Colette O’Neill and posted to:
Bealtaine Cottage
Ballyfermoyle
Keadue
Boyle
County Roscommon
Ireland
 
(Don’t forget to include your name, inscription if wanted and full address.)
 
For a taste of the book…click on this link…
https://bealtainecottage.com/a-cottage-and-three-acres-the-bealtaine-story/

Like Noah

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no
difference what people
think of you.

Rumi

IMG_0387Another five days.

IMG_0385Bealtaine.

IMG_0386The beginning of Summer.

IMG_0388This Bealtaine is the celebration of thirteen years of the Bealtaine project.

IMG_0384A project once considered the silly dream of a ridiculous woman.

IMG_0383Against all financial advice it was conceived and against all horticultural wisdom it was planned.

IMG_0382Planned, planted and grown!IMG_0381

The Bealtaine Project is now complete.

IMG_0389This land is both resilient and regenerative…it can grow abundance without me.

IMG_0390I am now free to observe and delight, potter and sit, all the while simply ensuring the gentle maintenance of the edges and paths, free to harvest and raise plants for the Potager Beds which provide some of my food and much of my pleasure.

IMG_0391I have embarked on writing my second book, happy with the good reception of the first, “A Cottage and Three Acres.”

IMG_0392I recently read this quote by W. H. Murray and found it to be true to my experience at Bealtaine Cottage over the past thirteen years…

IMG_0393“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. “

W. H. Murray 

IMG_0394Wise words…live your life!

IMG_0396Click here to purchase the book… “A Cottage and Three Acres…One Woman’s Return to Ireland in Her Quest for Eden.”

Mother

“I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.”

~ Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

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Walking through the upper gardens this morning and snapping photographs as I went…

DSC06686As I walked I thought about my Mother, my Grandmother and some of the women who have influenced my life, as Mother’s Day approaches…

DSC06687Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland was certainly one of those women!

DSC06694“The Irish presidential election of 1990 was the tenth held in Ireland and the first to include a female candidate. Independent politician Mary Robinson would go on to hold office for the next seven years. In the 1990 election, the Labour Party let it be known that it would run a candidate for the first time and nominated Robinson, a former Labour Party senator, and liberal campaigner. The renegade had been involved in the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform and is widely regarded and respected as atransformative figure in Ireland for liberalizing and revitalizing what was a conservative and low-profile political office. She was a remarkably popular president.” ~ http://www.irishcentral.com

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And so the transformation of Ireland and Irish politics began.

The patriarchal system of state and church had been given a bit of a shake down, but the real change began as we all began to feel more confident about questioning the world in which we lived.

DSC06672My own questions formed around the environment in which I lived, most importantly the Earth and our relationship with her.

I dreamed about returning to Ireland and challenging the status quo of land stewardship. Was it possible to do the seemingly impossible and recreate the Ireland of my deepest dreams?

A land of trees and woodlands, abundant wildlife, flowers and rich, seasonal colour?

A land of abundant food and shelter?

A land dedicated to the Great Mother…Earth?

Moreover, to even attempt to do this on some of the poorest land in Ireland?

DSC06682I felt empowered by Mary Robinson, as many women at home and abroad felt and continue to feel empowered.

DSC06683The opportunity to fulfil my dream came over a decade later, when, throwing all caution to the wind, I embarked on what was to become known as the Bealtaine Project.

DSC06685The book, “A Cottage and Three Acres,” picks up the story…

As I worked, sometimes into the night, planting and tending a hopeless looking land, I felt continual waves of compassion for Mother Earth.

I coaxed her, talked to her and sometimes even sang to her, the way one does with a seriously ill patient whose doctors have all but given up hope.

DSC06695I was not the only one though, for many, many others were embarking on a similar path all across Earth.

DSC06698I spoke with all who visited Bealtaine Cottage about Mother Earth, when few people seemed to recognise her plight.

But, something very incredible was happening…

DSC06699There was a distinct sense of energy rising from the very Earth herself…a form of communication at the most deeply intuitive level.

DSC06708 After years of feeling outcast because of what I sensed and felt, there happened a mighty shift in perception.

DSC06714As I began to write and photograph what was happening at Bealtaine, so many of you tuned in…often in the most serendipitous of ways!

DSC06715But, it was not accidental, for all is connected and often in ways we do not understand.

DSC06717And so the website began reaching  people all over the world.

DSC06718What began as an impossible dream, became a reality of hope for many…that nothing is impossible!

DSC06723That the doors of perception are not locked and barred!

DSC06724We are all, each and every one of us on an incredible journey, each one unique, yet deeply connected to all and everything.

We may live alone, but we are never alone.

DSC06730We are beautiful souls experiencing a human journey with the greatest Mother of them all…our own Mother Earth.

Happy Mother’s Day!

**********************************************

A Cottage and Three Acres by Colette O’Neill

Food in the Midwinter Garden

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It’s surprising just how much food is growing in the gardens of Bealtaine at this time of year, the time of scarcity…but far from it!

dsc05673dsc05672dsc05671There’s the makings of a decent salad, with Fennel, Japanese salads like Mizuna and others as well as a lovely edible garnish in the form of Pansy flowers.

dsc05670dsc05675In other parts of the gardens, where little micro-climates exist in the form of stones and shed walls, there’s Flat-leaf Parsley and Thyme.

I used Thyme in roasted potatoes yesterday…delicious!

dsc05664Purple Sprouting Broccoli is giving lots of florets…delicious raw or cooked and full of goodness! dsc05663Then there’s Leeks…all grown from saved seed and the stronger for it!

dsc05662Elsewhere in the gardens I found stands of Kale…shred this in salads and roast as chip dips!

dsc05669dsc05668Here and there in the flower beds and in pots…lots of Sage and Rosemary…great herbs to add taste to root vegetables at this time of year!

dsc05666Bay is growing in abundance, quite acclimatised to the Irish climate.

dsc05674Golden Oregano continues to thrive past Midwinter.

All of this is growing outdoors, not in the tunnel and these pics were snapped today, 26th of December!

dsc05651Even the Rhubarb is beginning to produce!

dsc05642There’s lots of other food in the garden…for birds and small mammals, in the form of berries.

Seeds are available from the link below…

 

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

To join the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

Winter Work in the Permaculture Gardens

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Saturday morning at Bealtaine Cottage and the cold winter has set in…

dsc05049The Goddess Gardens are in the midst of an early winter tidy-up.

dsc05048This is a way of preparing the earth for the Spring to follow, and, it’s not that far away either.

dsc05032_li As we descend towards Midwinter, those involved in caring for the land are all too aware of the time available to prepare for Spring…and that comes in early here in the west of Ireland, with Imbolc on the first day of February!

dsc05046Due to the good Autumn we’ve had, the Winter seems shorter, indeed not all the trees have shed their leaves!

dsc05047Work in the new Lughnasadh Garden continues, as I move many of the perennial flowers from the Potager Beds, near the back of the cottage, over to the new beds prepared for them.

dsc05045I dearly hope to have all the work completed before the Spring, so time outdoors is precious! Mahonia is in full bloom by the bench. This is still in a big pot, but will be planted out if I get the time…another job on the long list!

dsc05044The leaf fall this year has been tremendous and will add considerably to the building fertility here in the Goddess Gardens.

dsc05041From a barren land to abundant growth in twelve years…I continue to pinch myself!

dsc05039As I type, the sun shines in that ethereal way that only descent into Midwinter can do!

dsc05035_liThe smell of beans, toast and vegan bacon emanates from the kitchen…a hearty meal before I step out to work on the land.

dsc05040I will burn Bay Leaves in my incense pot this morning and the cottage will be infused with sweetness.

The Bay leaf is known to contain a substance called Linalool which helps to decrease anxiety in humans and create a calm atmosphere in the home.

dsc05042I make my own blend of home grown organic incense, using blends that either calm, invigorate or cleanse.

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Support the work of the Bealtaine Project…

Subscribe to the second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

 

Why Save Seed?

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All seed-saving at Bealtaine Cottage helps to preserve heirloom seeds’ genetic diversity!

This is Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria.

dsc07184This seed has adapted over twelve years to grow in difficult conditions, for as you know, it rains frequently here and the gardens are all on a north-facing slope.

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageThis is why the seed saved here, year after year, is more resilient than commercial seed, which is grown in ideal conditions for the maximum production value!

Foxglove seed Saving seed also makes one value the pollinators, especially the Bees…for without their incredible work there would not be any seed to collect! 

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the LodgeDuring the 1900’s we experienced a startling drop in the number of heirloom varieties—because gardeners stopped saving and trading their own seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage SeedsHere at Bealtaine Cottage I have developed a seed bank over twelve years, adding more and more seed year on year, as the biodiversity increased similarly throughout the gardens. 

growing seeds at BealtaineWhen we rely on commercial seed companies, any seeds that sell slowly simply get dropped from production and disappear.

seedlings in tunnel at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to support this vital work of seed-saving and building resilience for the future, consider purchasing some seed from Bealtaine Cottage…

Click on the link below to see what’s available so far… (I’m adding continually as more becomes ready to pack!) 

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

It Still Takes My Breath Away!

dsc04149Each morning I arise and embark on a series of rituals, that culminate with a hot cup of tea in one hand, my camera in the other and faithful Jack by my side.

dsc04146It is then that I step out…

dsc04145This has been my ritual, though not always with Jack, for the past twelve years.

dsc04147And so it continues…

dsc04133What has manifested here on this little piece of sacred Earth still takes my breath away!

dsc04134I touch base with it as many times a day as I can!

dsc04132I take thousands of photographs every year, for the sheer beauty of what Mother Earth can do on three acres of “poor land,” is beyond incredible!

dsc04126And this has manifested in one of the last remaining countries on Earth that continues to refer to itself as “Mother.”

dsc04125“Mother Ireland”

dsc04124The Great Mother, Mother Earth, Goddess, Creatrix!

dsc04089The Celts were one of the last remaining tribes of the Goddess…in that they recognised the spirit of the Earth as female. 

dsc04118There lies a message in that…

dsc04115I believe it to be simply this…”I am alive and filled with joy and waiting…”

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View from the cottage in 2004 

dsc04083And earlier today…

Those who answer her call become immersed in joy and surrounded with beauty…and so it is.

It still takes my breath away!

Building an Ark…One Garden At ATime

dsc03401As the thousand and more trees and thousands of plants of the Bealtaine Project grow taller and more dense, so it is the once barren land seems more and more as it is…an Ark for Earth, set into a monoculture landscape of Cash-Crop-Forestry and  animal grazing fields.

dsc03400This summer witnessed the most Bees, Butterflies, Pollinators and Birds ever!

dsc03399The wildlife in search of home are migrating to the oasis of Bealtaine Cottage.

dsc03398They know where the food, shelter and ultimate habitat is to be found!

dsc03397So, I thought to myself, what if those with gardens, allotments, smallholdings etc., pledged to devote a percentage of what they tend or own to wildlife?

dsc03396 We are talking Arks, where wildlife can not only survive, but thrive!

dsc03395This takes the presumption that one cannot make a difference and turns it on it’s ridiculous head! dsc03394For one can make a difference!

dsc03393Two can double that little Ark for Earth…hundreds can create a huge difference and thousands…well, thousands can begin to stack the odds in favour of Mother Earth!

dsc03392Now don’t get me thinking of hundreds of thousands or even millions, for my head will almost explode with possibilities…but you see where this is going, don’t you?

dsc03391 And as for Guerrilla Gardening…oh joy!

dsc03390 What about seed bombs chucked out of the car window onto the motorway verges?

dsc03389We are creative people who care…if you’ve landed here on this website you most certainly are!

dsc03388So let’s get to it!

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And, by the way, if I’d listened to all the experts on where one can and cannot successfully plant a garden, never mind three acres, the Bealtaine Project would still be on the back-burner with little hope of ever happening!

dsc03386Oh, and the Lughnasadh Garden is being worked on little by little, with a grand opening and dedication ceremony next Bealtaine (May 1st)

dsc03385…the Ark is being extended…

dsc03372…One Garden At A Time

dsc03381and…it’s going to be mighty!

Lughnasadh Garden

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Just published over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

Lughnasadh Garden…here’s a link for members:

https://bealtainecottage.org/2016/09/02/lughnasadh-garden/

If you would like to support the Bealtaine Project by becoming a member, here’s a link:

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Rustic and Free…Garden Ideas

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Everybody loves gardens!

DSC02454One of the flourishing businesses of our time is that of Garden Centres.

DSC02451I love walking around a Garden Centre, but can rarely afford to buy more than one or two plants…if that!

DSC02450But…I continue to develop the gardens here at Bealtaine Cottage…on a budget that more often than not hovers around the zero mark!

How is it done?

DSC02449With lots of inspiration from the greatest gardener of the lot, Mother Nature!

Lots of seeds and cuttings grow into plants that go to make the gardens, such as here by the front door.

DSC02448Home-made compost as well as compoost!

DSC02447Liquid fertiliser is always available…urine mixed 10:1 with spring water, (the cottage is fed by a Spring Well!).

DSC02446Old bits of wood, logs and tree stumps make wonderful edging.

DSC02445Broken terracotta pots and broken china help create the right effect in Rockery Gardens.

DSC02455House ornaments that are weather-proof help create the right atmosphere in the garden…

DSC02444Stones that are smooth…

DSC02443Stones that are big…

DSC02442Logs with mossy bits…

DSC02440Old candle holders topped with an old can of Sedums…

DSC02441Tree stumps with round stones atop…

DSC02439Silly concrete garden ornaments bought pre-loved at a Boot Fair and painted…

DSC02438…and more Sedums that tolerate neglect!

DSC02435Shells and broken bits of tiles…

DSC02434It’s a wonderful and fun way to create a small but interesting garden, where one wants to spend more time looking…

DSC02432Using wood and stone as well as a multitude of other materials helps create micro-climates where plants flourish.  

DSC02433Rustic gardens are full of texture and interest…

DSC02431Places where the old and unusual take on a new life…

DSC02429Like this old river stone in the shape of Gandalf’s hat!

DSC02427DSC02426DSC02425Garden pots and more ornamental shrubs can be incorporated too…

DSC02428I hope you make some of these ideas your own, for wildlife, especially Bees and insects benefit so much from rustic gardens!

DSC02422There are over eleven hundred blogs about Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens on this website, as well as over six thousand photographs…all free! 

Growing the BEALTAINE PROJECT one upload at a time…

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please support…

 

Magical Spirits

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It’s a wet evening.

It’s a cool evening too.

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I’ve lit the stove and the kettle begins to sing on the top.

It’s a tea and toast kind of evening.

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I was thinking about Fairies today as I walked through the Fairy Wood.

It lies below the cottage, in a natural dell and is a very special place.

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There’s a Fairy tree in the centre of the woodland with a huge stone underneath it’s branches.

I’ve often wondered about the history and meaning of that tree and stone.

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I have been told that such a tree planted by a stone can mark the resting place of a person whose body was not allowed to be interred in the graveyard…the churches had all sorts of rules regarding who could and could not be interred in so called sacred ground…unbaptised babies, suicides etc…all of great sadness and shown little mercy…

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And so, while Jack plays with his football…for some reason he believes I want to steal it…I think about this tree, the Fairy Wood and…fairies…

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Fairies are widely regarded as magical spirits who can help humanity get closer to Nature and embrace harmony in the natural environment.

To the Celts, nature embodied the sovereignty of the Goddess.

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In comparison, within the church view, Nature is widely regarded as something amoral and fearsome, needing to be dominated and put to service.

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All this has led us away from our deep relationship with Mother Earth…we are now in a state of flux and near abandonment and we feel this deeply, with some more aware of the root of our unhappiness and others less, or in severe denial.

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“The creatures I seek do not want to be seen.”
Annie Dillard

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“These folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Maybe we need to think again about Fairies, for until we respect the natural world and our precious environment, we are doomed to be cast aside as Gaia struggles on her own…

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

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To The Mountain!

DSC01770I’ve been spending much of this week catching up with a great many tasks that were backing up around me…cork-tiling the bathroom floor and part of the Lodge floor, clearing the tunnel for the winter crops and all the usual stuff such as clearing and mowing the paths in the gardens!

DSC01861I have got a lot done because I made the decision last week to come off Facebook…and have shared my thoughts with you on this…

DSC01860I posted a number of pics on FB this morning, as so many people delight in seeing Bealtaine Cottage!

DSC01859It is, however, almost impossible to respond to comments left on FB as I simply do not have the time and am resolved not to negate my commitment to this blog and the second website at bealtainecottage.org

DSC01853Those of you who have followed this blog for any amount of time will be aware of the enormous workload I carry and will, therefore, totally understand this.

DSC01852Recently I came across this quote by Joseph Campbell and was deeply moved to meditate upon it for a while. 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. –

Joseph Campbell

DSC01850It has inspired me to “go with the flow” much more and to simply get on and do whatever tasks need doing, rather than planning and then becoming despondent at what I have not achieved…I can be my own hardest and most severe taskmaster!

DSC01846I am determined to come away from this driven approach and relax into life more!

DSC01784DSC01787I could do with taking lessons from Sammy-bear, seen here by the Catnip in the tunnel, out of his mind!

DSC01786DSC01785DSC01781Cats remind us all how we should relax…frequently and often!

On the other hand…looking at his spaced-out expression…maybe not!

DSC01846There is another quote I wish to share with you. It is on a slightly different note, but one that you may find meaningful at this time…for I am aware of the events in our world recently…

DSC01845This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.

Joanna Macy

DSC01844I have found this to be comforting as I attempt to make sense of the chaos!

There is so much to rejoice in when out in Nature…

DSC01837DSC01836This is a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland, and also the great festival of Lughnasadh!

DSC01835DSC01834DSC01832 I will stride forth on Lughnasadh Eve to a high point on a nearby mountain to welcome in the new season and pay tribute to Mother Earth and in particular, Mother Ireland.

DSC01829DSC01823DSC01820DSC01818To celebrate the season is to turn one’s back on the machinations, arrogance and hubris of Man, seeking instead, the warmth and generosity of the Great Mother…Earth, in all her beauty!

DSC01777DSC01772Before I go, just to let you know, I am writing a blog on the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, all about using sheep wool in the tunnel as I prepare it for the Autumn/Winter sowing and planting.

I am still clearing, but once I begin using the wool I shall take lots of pics and post them in the blog, along with detailed explanations of how and why.

You can become a member of the site here…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

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See you on the other site tomorrow!

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

 

 

 

Using Seaweed in the Garden

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After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! DSC01293You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. DSC01292The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches.

DSC01291Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore!

DSC01290In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!

DSC01289The first thing I do is to spread it on the gravel around the cottage and allow the rain to wash out excess salt.

DSC01288After about a week, I start to spread the seaweed around established plants in the garden and tunnel.

DSC01287 The seaweed acts as a wonderful feed and a weed-suppressing mulch!

DSC01285One of the best things about growing food in the garden is the opportunity to use local and near resources that are free to be foraged or collected…seaweed is an organic fertiliser! DSC01286Seaweed is washed in by the tide, so is easy to forage!

DSC01284Only ever take what you need!

It can be used straight away too by the way!

DSC01283It’s packed with Potassium and Nitrogen, bot wonderful for the garden!

In the next blog, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will explain how to make Liquid Seaweed Manure…along with lots more pics of the vegetable beds mulched with seaweed and how this feeds the plants!

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

 

Garden to Visit in Ireland…Unique…Permaculture!

Yesterday was a busy day for me as I worked tirelessly in the gardens, cutting, clearing and ensuring all the paths are open for visitors.

I always carry my camera with me, so here are some of the shots I took on my walk around after I’d finished my work!

It was a hard day, but, as you can see, well worth it.

I continue today and will share pics later on!

Love and Blessings XXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage

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To arrange a visit to Bealtaine Cottage and the 3 acre Permaculture Garden created by one woman from monoculture land, go to

https://bealtainecottage.com/visiting-bealtaine-cottage/

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